Friday, February 25, 2011

The Zippo Challenge 4" x 4" Oil on gessoboard

This painting was a challenge! It wasn't so much because I was limited to two colors, burnt sienna and ultramarine blue, but by the little details that I got caught up in. If I did it again I would definitely try to make it more "loose".

The thing I liked the best about doing this painting was the nostalgia I felt. I remember my dear Uncle Bill smoked and he would bring home all kinds of cigarette lighters that he got out of the claw machines. He is now 92 years old.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Roma's Gift Box 4" x 4" Oil on gessoboard

Before I got started with the painting, I took a black and white photo of the set up just to get a handle on the values. So important. I could see that the difference between the light side of the box and the shadow side was at least two value scales apart. That is in general. As the light hit the box from the shadow side of the table the value came a little closer to the value of the lighted side. Light against dark, dark against light. A constant comparison with background and foreground and the box. It took much longer than I thought.  I am pleased with the results however I do wish I could loosen my strokes a bit to get that painterly look. I will work on doing that in my next set up.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What a corker! 4" x 4" oil on gessoboard

I love the movie Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. It has been a while since I have watched it but I remember a line in there where Tom calls Nicole a corker. I think it was a compliment- maybe.

The greatest challenge I seem to have is setting up the still life. Last night I rummaged through all my old bottles that I collected over the years. I love saving bottles. My family thinks I go a little overboard with that. Anyway I do have some great potentials for future paintings but for this one I settled on the same bottle that I did for the 10-minute challenge. I think it is an old beer bottle. Real cute as beer bottles go. Anyway, ok I had an amber bottle and a yellow flower and a cork in the same family of colors. I went again for the complement of the color to use for the background. So the complement of yellow orange is blue violet. A few color marks on the canvas  to test it and wow I felt I made a good decision.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Promised Red Rose 4"x4" Oil on Gessoboard

I love flowers but it is definitely a love-hate relationship when it comes to painting them- especially roses.

I chose a gray green backdrop to complement the red rose. This gray green color I painted in first so that I could see the relationship of the colors I would choose for the reds in the rose. The biggest challenge was trying to keep it simple. My still life rose had a lot more petals and that was becoming way too complicated so I simplified instead by eliminating some petals and also by using blocks of color shapes especially for the center of the rose.

The colors on the painting are a bit richer than this photo shows. I continue to have problems with getting the photo colors correct  in order to post.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hurry! Hide!! 4" x 4" oil on gessoboard

These cherries reminded me of active kids playing hide and seek. The one on top is trying to hide in the bottle but can't fit and the other two are hidding behind tranparent glass.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


My name is Charlene Swift. For many years I have been indulging my artistic impulses through various mediums such as watercolor, acrylic, pastels, and oils.  This blog will be a record of my endeavor to track the progress of my current work as I complete them. My past work has mostly been comprised of equine art and landscapes using my photos and field sketches as inspiration and springboards for my paintings.
My goal is to set up still lifes in my studio in order to help me train my eye to see subtle colors and reflections that are sometimes impossible for me to photograph. I will be working in my favorite medium, oils, on small canvases or gessoboards, usually 4"x4" sizes. This size will allow me to finish a painting in one to two sittings which works perfectly with my busy life schedule.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bottle and Grapes 4" x 4" oil on gessoboard

Today I finished my painting. I layed in the pure colors first, then the darks. After getting started, I had second thoughts about laying in the darks before I did the background because I was getting some mud. However working back and forth from background to grapes and grapes to background seemed to work out alright afterall. ( I did have my rag handy for a total wipe out ) By working back and forth, it helped me lose the edges to give a softer recessed look. I think I will paint this bottle again. What to put with it next time? Hmm.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bottle and Grapes

After yesterday's challenge of painting the beer bottle, I decided today that I would try another amber bottle. (Don't ask where I got the bottle- really I don't remember). I only had time to do the lay in which will definitely save me time later. I had watched  a video on U-Tube by Qiang Huang which was really good. It was perfect for reminding me how simple the lay in should be- Lines, lights, mediums and darks. Always good to have a clear idea of that. The shadow against the backdrop had some nice gold reflections. Now that I am looking at the bottle, it may need some straightening out but that will come later.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Beer Bottle

Today I entered the 10-minute Painting Challenge by Carol Marine. Eight paintings, each one done in only 10 minutes. A timer was set for each one. Ten minutes goes by fast when you are laying in the drawing, mixing colors and applying. But Carol was right. I did learn a lot and each beer bottle seemed to be looking better and better as I got to the eighth one. After the first two paintings,  I realized that I needed to stay away from the cads, at least at first when laying in the initial colors of the bottle. Keeping the colors clear added to the effect of transparency. Later, for light reflections, I added a small amount of white or a cad color to a transparent color like alizarin crimson. What a challenge but lots of fun. By the time I got to the eighth bottle, I was ready for something to drink!